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OT loss to Canucks doesn't dampen Young Stars experience

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

PENTICTON, BC -- It wasn’t the way the Calgary Flames were hoping to end the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, but a 3-2 overtime loss to prospects from the Vancouver Canucks didn’t damper the benefits of the Penticton tournament.

“The tournament itself gets you ready,” said Morgan Klimchuk, who finished the loss with a goal -- his second of the tournament. “You can get into some games early before some of the older guys are. To have some success like I did tonight felt good. It kind of helps the confidence. I got my puck touches in and that helps you going forward when you start playing for real.”

The tournament offered exhibition games against rookies from the Canucks, Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers.

For some, it was their first time playing with the Flames jersey on.

“People that are here for the first time, you get a chance to put on a jersey and it’s pretty cool,” said Stockton Heat coach Ryan Huska, the man behind the bench in the exhibition series for Calgary. “A lot of them, playing in a game, representing the Calgary Flames is something that they’ll never forget. I think people in their first go-round, I would assume it’s a little more exciting, if you can say that, for those guys. This is new and it’s kind of getting closer to the dream that they’ve always kind of pushed to get to.”

One of those was Oliver Kylington, selected 60th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

His time in Penticton has the 18-year-old better prepared for main camp later in the week.

“It’s a good inspiration,” Kylington said. “It’s nice to be here, be with the boys, get to know them much better, be around the staff and stuff like that and just feel more comfortable in your stuff. I’m just taking that with me.”

Tied 2-2 heading into overtime, Calgary Hitmen forward and Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen broke in alone on Nick Schneider, beating the Flames goaltender to the blocker to end the game and tournament.

“He’s got me a few times on breakaways,” said Schneider, who plays for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL. “I thought he was going to do something else. I read a different move. I wasn’t anticipating a shot. He’s a great player and he put it in a great spot. You’ve got to give him credit.”

Calgary opened the scoring early in the game.

On the ensuing faceoff following a spirited bout between Hunter Smith and Mackenzie Stewart, a faceoff win by Taylor Burke allowed Julien Proulx to swat a rebound by Canucks starter Clay Witt to give Calgary a 1-0 lead just 2:30 into the game.

It stood as the opening period’s only goal.

Tied 1-1, Klimchuk broke the tied game open, starting and finishing a give-and-go on a three-on-one late in the second period, taking a return pass from Mason Marchment before beating Witt with 1:44 remaining in the period.

“It was a great play,” Klimchuk said. “[Pavel Karnauhkov] made a good play to transition it quick. I was calling for it. He gave it to me. I don’t know what happened from there side of things, but made a pass over to [Marchment]. He made a nice no-look pass back and I just tried to get it off quick. It worked out good.”

The goal came after Dane Fox tied the game at 15:15, the only blemish on the night from Jon Gillies. Gillies, who played the first two periods and stopped 15 of 16 shots before giving way to Schneider to start the third.

Schneider was welcomed to a 2-0 eight minutes into the third, but sprawled to stop Vancouver first round pick Jared McCann on a goalmouth feed from Reid Gardiner.

“I kind of thought they were going to pass it just because on a 2-on-0, if a guy shoots, it’s pretty selfish,” Schneider said. “I just tried to push as quick as I can.”

But he couldn’t stop Rodrigo Abols at 9:54, who tapped a pass from McCann over Schneider’s glove to tie the game 2-2 to eventually force overtime.

NOTES: The Flames announced Ryan Culkin will miss 6-8 weeks with a shoulder injury … Kenny Agostino, Sam Bennett, Keegan Kanzig, Brett Kulak and Rasmus Andersson were among the game’s scratches … the Flames announced the signing of Andersson to an entry-level deal prior to the start of the game.

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